STL PROUD Coalition and St. Landry Children and Youth Services Planning Board will host a noon Luncheon on Wednesday, May 18 as part of Communities Talk: Town Hall Meeting to Prevent Underage Drinking. The purpose of the event is to raise awareness about the impact of underage drinking.
The Luncheon will begin at 12:00 noon and will be held at the Southwest Center for Rural Initiatives located at 1201 Diesi Street in Opelousas. The luncheon is open to the public and will bring together many individuals concerned about underage drinking consequences and ways to prevent them.
“Underage drinking is threatening the future of our children. We must act now to educate them about the many, and sometimes deadly, consequences of early alcohol use,” said Dale Fontenot STL PROUD Coalition Coordinator. “Over 30% of our youth under age 21 in St. Landry Parish reported using alcohol during the past 30 days.”
Underage drinking is a major public health concern in our community and throughout the United States. According to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 9 million—or one in four, 12- to 20-year-olds—reported alcohol use during the past month. Of these, about 5 million were binge drinkers, meaning that they consumed five or more drinks on at least one occasion. Underage drinkers are at risk for negative consequences, including lowered academic performance, involvement with law enforcement, risk of violence and sexual assault, and death.
Illegal use of alcohol can result in severe, even deadly, harm to themselves and others. In our own parish, there were 2 reported alcohol related fatalities by underage drivers in 2014. There were 9 total alcohol related fatalities by underage drives in Louisiana in 2014. St. Landry Parish had 22% of all the alcohol related fatalities in Louisiana in 2014.
“We need to stop pretending alcohol isn’t a problem, and be open about how it is affecting our parish. Talking about it is only the first step; we must do whatever it takes to prevent underage drinking and secure the futures of our young adults. Each of us has a role and a responsibility,” said Fontenot.
Visit STL PROUD Coalition’s webpage (www.stlproudcoalition.com), Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook sites or call 337-308-7051 to learn more about underage drinking prevention and the Town Hall Meeting.
The Communities Talk: Town Hall Meeting to Prevent Underage Drinking is created with support from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in collaboration with the federal government’s Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking. To learn more about this national initiative, go to https://www.stopalcoholabuse.gov/townhallmeetings. And join the online conversation, #CommunitiesTalk.